Snack / Party Food

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Sephardic Charoset

A few years ago I started making sephardic-style charoset for Passover... and I never stopped. Although it is not the classic apple and walnut dish of my youth, I like the flavors better and I find it easier to manage on a piece of matzah with horseradish.

This year, I discovered this Serious Eats recipe, which I found not only tasty but also easy to make. Win win!

Sephardic Charoset
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Corn Pudding

A terribly delicious Midwestern staple. Recipe by way of my coworker Kat.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 package (8-1/2 ounces) corn bread/muffin mix
1/2 cup 2% milk
1 can (15-1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (14-3/4 ounces) cream-style corn
1 small can green chiles (optional)
Pepper jack cheese (optional)

Corn Pudding
4
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Mango and Cucumber Chow

Billed as Caribbean by Bon Appetit, this mango chow could go equally well with Indian, Thai, or other South/Southeast Asian cuisines. Sweet, spicy, salty, and sour -- delicious!

INGREDIENTS
1 small shallot, thinly sliced into rings
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
½ Scotch bonnet chile or habanero chile, thinly sliced crosswise, seeds removed if less heat is desired
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ripe but firm mango, peeled, cut into ½-inch-thick spears
½ English hothouse cucumber

Mango Chow
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Savory Bread Pudding

Courtesy of Cowgirl Creamery. Could easily be made vegetarian.

Ingredients
1 lb. Andouille Sausage - small diced
1 medium Onion - small diced
3 stalks Celery - small diced
1 lb. Cremini Mushrooms - small diced
1 Tbsp. Garlic - minced
2 Tbsp. Thyme - chopped
1 lb. Stale Bread - large diced
6 Eggs
2 cups Heavy Cream
1 cup Chicken Stock
4 oz. Cowgirl Creamery Crème Fraiche (plus more for serving)
8 oz. Cowgirl Creamery Wagon Wheel - grated
Salt & Pepper - to taste
1/8 lb. Butter
1 bunch Chives - thinly sliced

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Dill Cucumber Salad

A cool, refreshing side dish. Inspired by these two recipes, but mostly a notional recipe.

1 large English cucumber, sliced on a mandolin to 1/8" thick
1/2 small red onion, also sliced on a mandolin to 1/8" thick (optional)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup mix of your favorite vinegars (I used mostly white vinegar + cider vinegar + red wine vinegar)

Dill Cucumber Salad
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Chile-Corn Custard Squares

A nice side for a BBQ, courtesy of Bon Appetit.

3 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 large onion, finely chopped
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2/3 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend or 1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese mixed with 1/3 cup crumbled queso fresco, divided
1/2 cup sour cream (plus additional for garnish, optional)
1/2 cup canned creamed corn
2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño chiles

Chile Corn Custard
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Carrot Ricotta Tart

Via http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/carrot-tart-with-ricotta-and-herbs

2 cups ricotta
¼ cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion, thinly sliced
4 large carrots (about 8 ounces), scrubbed, thinly sliced into coins
1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg, beaten to blend (optional)
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons small dill sprigs

Preheat oven to 425°. Whisk ricotta and cream in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Carrot Ricotta Tart
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Hummus Pancakes With Tahini Mayo

Via Dorie Greenspan, these quick blender savory pancakes could be used in many interesting ways. Combines nicely with this avocado and cucumber salad for a meat-free, heavy protein meal.

Pancakes
1 cup home-cooked or canned no-salt-added chickpeas, drained, 1/4 cup of their liquid reserved
1/2 cup tahini
2 cloves garlic, cut in half lengthwise (germ removed)

Hummus Pancakes
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Parmigiano Gelato

Courtesy of The Washington Post Magazine.

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Hot Sauce

A Saveur recipe, modified by Merl and sent by Sharon.

1 lb. mixed medium-to-hot fresh chiles, stemmed and seeded if very hot (Merl recommends 1/2 jalapeños and 1/2 serranos; Saveur recommends red peppers like fresno, holland, or cayenne)
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1.5 tbsp. or more kosher salt, to taste
1/2 cup or more distilled white vinegar to taste

Green Salsa
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Corn, Chili, and Cheese Salad

Easy and delicious Bon Appetit recipe. Also keeps well in the fridge for several days and, in some ways, improves over time.

4 ears of corn, husked
1 large shallot, thinly sliced into rings
1 red chile (BA recommends Holland or Fresno, but a Jalapeño will do), optionally deseeded, thinly sliced into rings
¼ cup fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 oz. fresh Cotija cheese or queso fresco, crumbled
¼ cup cilantro leaves with tender stems

Grilled Corn Salad
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Beef Satay

Courtesy of Cook's Illustrated. Easy and delicious!

Beef
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 (1.5-1.75 lb) hangar or flank steak, cut against the grain into pieces that are approximately 4"x2"x1/4"

Basting Sauce
3/4 cup coconut milk
3 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 shallots, minced
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed to bottom 6 inches and minced
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1.5 tsp ground coriander

Beef Satay Skewers
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JohnnyCakes and Festival

These Jamaican fried dumplings are traditionally called Johnny Cakes, which derived from the name journey cake. They go great with Ackee and Saltfish

2 cups All-purpose flour
1 tsp Salt
3 tsp Baking powder
3 Tbsp Butter or margarine
3/4 cup Cold water
1/2 cup Cooking oil

Sift flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl, then blend butter into dry ingredients with hands or mixer until crumbly

Johnny Cakes
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Kale Chips

Take flat-leaf kale and cut the leaf only parts into chip-sized pieces. Toss lightly with olive oil, and spread out on a ceramic plate.

Sprinkle lightly with salt and spices (garlic powder works well), microwave for 3-5 minutes until crisp.

http://www.americastestkitchenfeed.com/super-quick-video-tips/20...

Kale Chips
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Dinner Rolls

These rolls from the The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook are deceptively easy to make and great par-baked and frozen. We make these for Thanksgiving - they're one thing we can check off our list a few weeks in advance.

Dough Recipe

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  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp milk
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • Dinner Rolls
    4.5
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    Smoked Salmon Dip

    My goodness was this delicious. You have to give Martha credit where credit is due.

    8 oz smoked salmon, roughly chopped, divided
    8 oz cream cheese, softened
    1/3 cup mayonnaise (for texture; can be omitted if you don't like mayo)
    2 Tbsp diced red onion
    1 Tbsp capers
    1 tsp prepared horseradish
    Juice of half a lemon

    Smoked Salmon Dip
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    Deviled Eggs

    For some reason, I always get compliments on my deviled eggs. They're really not that hard to make. I typically go to deviledeggs.com for advice on cooking, peeling, etc. the eggs, but their tricks don't always work that well. I usually find inspiration in one of their recipes, but frankly it's not that difficult. This here is what I call a "notional" recipe because you can and should adjust the proportions to your liking.

    Deviled Eggs
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    Cheese Snappy Wafers

    From M. Egan via S. Camfield

    2 sticks (1c) butter, softened
    2c flour
    1.5 cups sharp cheddar, shredded and at room temperature
    1/2 t cayenne
    1/2 t salt
    2c rice krispies

    Cut butter into flour until texture resembles chunky cornmeal. Mix in cheese, spices. Fold in rice krispies.

    Mold small pices, place on ungreased cookie sheet.

    Bake at 350F for 45 minutes

    Cheesy Snappy Wafers
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    Bean Dips

    Courtesy of Cook's Illustrated.

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    7-Layer Bean Dip

    No real recipe here; we used, from the bottom up:

    1. leftover refried pinto beans
    2. Shredded cheese
    3. guacamole
    4. sour cream
    5. pico de gallo
    6. Olives (optional)

    ...and layered them in a flat-bottomed glass dish. The pico counts as two layers. Really.

    IMG_8471_resized.JPG
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    Cocktail Popovers

    Courtesy of Post Express.

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    Garlic Scape Pesto

    Garlic scape pesto is a wonderful thing. It is delicious, easy to make*, easy to use, and freezes well. We try and make a big batch of this when garlic scapes appear at the farmer's market in late spring. Freeze in ice cube trays for easy use later.

    2 cups garlic scapes, cut into ½" pieces (stringy and blender-killing otherwise!)
    ⅔ cup olive oil
    1 cup shredded parmesan (or substitute) cheese
    ⅓ cup pine nuts
    ⅓ tsp salt

    Blend all ingredients in food processor until a pasty consistency.

    Garlic Scape Pesto
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    Pea Pancakes

    Audrey was really excited about this recipe. Unfortunately, it sucked.

    1 cup shelled fresh peas (from about 1 pound pods)
    1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
    3 large eggs
    1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus more for skillet
    4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter, melted

    Optional: If using fresh peas, cook in a small saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 3 minutes, Drain

    Pea Pancakes
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    Kofta (Mediterranean Meatballs)

    This tasty and relatively easy recipe came from this fantastic cookbook centered on one of my favorite cuisines. The recipe calls for a mix of lamb and veal, but lamb alone would probably be good too.

    Makes 24 kofta.

    1 lb ground lamb
    1 lb ground veal
    1 medium onion, roughly chopped
    3-4 large cloves garlic
    1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
    1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley
    1 large medium-hot red chile, seeded
    1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
    1.5 tsp ground allspice
    3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

    Kofta
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    Juniper Cured Salmon

    This recipe is a modified version of one from the Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook, using a salt-cooking/curing method from the Pacific North-west:

    1/2 lb of raw salmon is one serving of cured salmon for lox/sandwich/in a salad.

    For under 1lb salmon: 1.5 cups each of plain, fine-grain kosher salt and sugar
    For a 1 lb salmon: 2.5 cups each salt/sugar
    For a 2 lb salmon: 3 cups each salt/sugar

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    Salmon Curing
    4.5
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    Burnt Eggplant with Pomegranate Dip

    Ingredients:
    2 large eggplants
    3 gloves garlic, minced
    Grated zest of 1 large lemon
    Juice of 1 lemon
    4 Tbsp olive oil

    To finish:
    2 tablespoons parsley
    2 tablespoons mint leaves, chopped
    Seeds of 1/2 pomegranate
    Salt and Pepper to taste

    Optional: top with smoked salt.

    Char eggplants on a stove top (~20 minutes), grill or on a broil mode in the oven (~45 minutes, turning twice). Turn around so it is very charred all around. If broiling, piece the skin in multiple places.

    Burnt Eggplant
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    Empanadas

    So, not really a true recipe, but pretty good and pretty easy. Maybe next time we'll get fancy and make our own empanada dough, but for the first try this turned out pretty good.

    Empanadas
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    Blistered Padrón Peppers

    1/2 pound fresh padron, shishito, seranno, small Hatch, or hot banana peppers, washed and thoroughly dried
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    Coarse sea salt, such as fleur de sel or Maldon

    Place the peppers in a medium bowl, add the olive oil, and toss to coat; set aside.

    Heat an indoor sautee pan or outdoor grill to medium high.

    When the grill is ready, place the peppers on the grill in a single layer, making sure they’re not touching; reserve the bowl they were in. Grill the peppers uncovered, turning them occasionally, until they start to char and blister, about 6 to 8 minutes total.

    Charred Peppers
    4.5
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    Chana Chaat

    Indigo, the Indian food stall at Eastern Market, makes a spectacular chana chaat - basically, a chick-pea/vegetable salad/snack thing.  It's quite frankly delicious.  In anticipation of an Indian dinner party were we hosting, I coaxed the main ingredients out of the very nice woman who does all the cooking at the stall.  While she wouldn't reveal her secret spice blend, some internet reserach gave us enough clues to fill in the holes.

    Obviously, this is a very notional recipe and the proportions can be added to suit your taste.  The resulting product shouldn't be soupy, but dressed in the sauce blend as a salad would be.

    Chana Chat
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    Three Indian Chutneys

    These three sauces go great with naan, chana chat, and ragda patties.

    Mint Chutney

    Indian Chutneys
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    Pasta Salad with Melon, Pancetta, and Ricotta Salata

    Not really hearty enough for a meal, but a nice (non-vegetarian) pasta salad to bring to a party or have as a side dish. Courtsey of Bon Appetit, but slightly modified.

    Ingredients

    2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon)
    4 ounces orecchiette (ear-shaped pasta)
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar, or rice vinegar
    1 1/2 cups 3/4" square diced pieces peeled cantaloupe
    1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint

    Pasta Salad with melon, ricotta, pancetta and mint
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    Crab Cakes

    Adapted from The Santa Monica Farmers Market Cookbook.

    Makes 10 large crabcakes or as many small ones as you can roll

    1 lb lump crabmeat
    1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (can sub regular)
    2 eggs, beaten
    4 Tbsp mayonnaise
    2 Tbsp lemon juice
    Few drops hot sauce (like Tobasco)
    Generous dash of Old Bay seasoning
    Generous dash of Garlic Powder
    Generous dash of Onion powder
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Crab Cakes with an Avocado/Yogurt sauce
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    Middle Eastern Salad

    I am a big fan of any number of "middle eastern salads" - lettuce-less salads which go by different names (with slightly different twists) in a variety of middle eastern and mediterranean cuisines. Yes, there is a difference between a fattoush salad and a shirazi salad, but frankly, I find that what I want is the same basic recipe with a few optional modifications, depending on how the dish will fit into the week's menu.

    The basic vegetable components of the salad are:
    Diced tomatoes (or halved cherry tomatoes)

    Fattoush salad with fried chickpeas
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    Panzanella Salad

    Basically a recipe of my own creation

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  • 2 medium tomatoes, or 1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, chopped into large pieces
  • 1/2 large English cucumbers, chopped into medium pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped into medium pieces (and roasted in oven, optional)
  • 1 sweet red pepper, chopped into medium pieces (and roasted in oven, optional)
  • 1 pint-sized container of mini mozzarella balls (or cut a larger piece of fresh mozzarella into small chunks)
  • Panzanella Salad
    4.5
    Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

    Party Pasta Salad

    I was inspired by a few online recipes, but pretty much made this up as I went along. It turned out delicious and was a big hit!

    1 lb pasta (orecchiette or some other smallish one preferred)
    1 medium-sized jar of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained, chopped and olive oil reserved
    1/2 small red onion, finely diced
    1 small tomato, finely diced
    ~1/2 lb feta, crumbled.

    Pasta Salad
    4
    Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

    Jalapeño Mint Jelly

    Adapted from epicurious.

    Yield: 3 half-pints

    ingredients

    7/8 cups finely chopped fresh mint, divided
    3/4 cups water
    1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
    3/8 cup cider vinegar
    1 tbsp (25 mL) strained fresh lemon juice
    2 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
    1 pouch liquid fruit pectin

    preparation

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    Crab Rangoon

    All I can say is this crab rangoon recipe is ... delicious!! Shamelessly stolen.

    Obviously, this is a "notional" recipe.

    Ingredients
    Roughly equal parts cream cheese (at room temperature) and imitation crab meat (chopped up)
    (Go a little heavy on the cream cheese)
    Chopped green onion
    Dash garlic powder
    Smaller dash soy sauce
    Enough won ton wrappers (recommend cutting them in half and makings smaller pouches)

    Process
    Mix ingredients together (except won ton wrappers).

    Crab Rangoon
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    Eggnog cheesecake / pumpkin pie bars

    1. Make a pie crust

    Preheat oven to 325F .
    Partially bake a double batch of pie crust spread out in a 9x13" casserole or baking dish. (Note, you'll only need 2/3rds of the crust here, but a single batch is not enough.

    2. Make a pumpkin pie filling

    3. Make the cheesecake layer:

    16 oz cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 egg
    1/3 cup eggnog
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

    Pumpkin eggnog cheesecake bars
    3.5
    Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

    Sauteed Fresh Chickpeas

    Delicious and easy ... if you can find fresh chick peas (garbanzo beans).

    2 cups fresh garbanzo beans, washed
    olive oil to coat pan
    pat butter (if desired, for flavor)
    1 tbsp lemon juice
    1 tbsp water

    Heat oil and butter in sautee pan. Add garbanzo beans in a single layer. Add water and lemon juice. Cover. Cook about 4 minutes, or until undersides of bean start to brown and burn. Only shake side to side while cooking.

    Pour into a bowl (with oil/juices) and serve. Eat sort of like edamame. Lick fingers.

    Fresh Chickpeas
    4.5
    Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

    Smoked Salmon Crepe Pinwheels

    A delicious and fun twist on Kevin Dundon's salmon cake recipe.

    These are crepes, layered with cream cheese and smoked salmon (lox), rolled and cut into pinwheels. Great for a party!

    2/3 cup AP flour
    1 jumbo or 2 small eggs
    about 1 cup milk
    8oz smoked salmon slices
    8oz whipped cream cheese (with herbs/chives if available)
    1 tbsp snipped fresh chives, scallions, garlic, shallots, or your favorite herbs
    juice of 1/2 lemon

    Salmon Crepe Pinwheels
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    Jalapeno Jelly

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    p>Audrey's homemade jalapeno jelly is always a huge hit at parties. The fact that Jon grows the hot peppers that go into the jelly impresses people even more. The secret is that this is actually one of the easiest canning recipes I have. Even though this is made with hot peppers (and trust me, the ones coming out of our garden are very spicy), its actually very mild when finished. To kick it up a notch, substitute a few habaneros or other spicy chilis. Three to four habaneros will make a medium heat jelly.

    Jalapeno Jelly
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    Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

    Shallot Confiture (Onion Jam)

    Yield: abt 2.5 pints

    2.5 lb shallots
    .75 c salt
    6 c white wine vinegar
    4 c granulated sugar
    for the spice bag:
    4 cardamom pods
    2 cinnamon sticks
    3 strips lemon rind
    1 Tbsp caraway seed
    1 Tbsp cloves
    .5 bird's eye chile

    Blanch and peel shallots. Make sure root ends stay intact, or shallots will disintegrate during cooking.

    Place peeled shallots in large glass bowl. Cover with cold water and add the salt. Mix until dissolved.. Weight shallots down (with a plate works) and leave for 24 hours.

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    Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

    We really enjoy the vegetarian dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with rice and other sundies) from Eastern Market, and so we thought we'd try and make them ourselves. We found grape leaves in brine at the supermarket and went from there. While I do enjoy cooking "projects," I have to admit that this one is pretty labor intensive. It's delicious, but undertake with caution.

    I cobbled together the recipe from online sources.

    Makes about 40 dolmades.

    Dolmades
    3.5
    Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

    Stuffed Cherry Peppers

    Roasted cherry peppers stuffed with Serrano ham, basil, and goat cheese. From Epicurious : http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/STUFFED-CHERRY-PEPPERS-12...

    Ingredients
    12 hot cherry peppers
    5 ounces fresh goat cheese
    12 paper-thin slices of Serrano Ham (jámon Serrano) or Prosciutto - anchovies are also tasty, and consider olives as a stufffer as well
    12 medium-sized fresh basil leaves
    1 clove garlic
    1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    2 T Sherry Vinegar
    1/2 t salt
    6 basil leaves, coarsely chopped

    Preparation
    Crush the garlic and add it to the olive oil. Set aside.

    cherry peppers.
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    (Lightly) Candied Pecans

    Jon's grandmother has a pecan tree in her yard. Two years ago, it was very prolific and we received a huge bag of pecans to bring back to DC. Having now waited two years for Jon to make a pecan pie, I decided to candy some of them. Note these are not the heavily sugared pecans you would have as a dessert, but more like a salad topper.

    From http://www.slashfood.com/2006/10/24/candied-pecans-easy-and-addictive/

    CandiedPecans
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    Jon's Garden Salsa

    I began making my own hot sauce during Peace Corps - peppers were plentiful, but good, non-tabasco-style sauces were hard to find (and generally bad). It's always a big hit, but actually really easy to make.

    You can also see this recipe in a much more amusing flowchart form (PDF)

    Salsa and chips
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    Salsa Verde

    A good, staple salsa verde recipe that balances the tartness of the tomatillo with a nice char and some spice. Makes about 2 cups.

    • 8 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed
    • 3-4 fresh chiles (a mixture of jalapenos and poblanos creates a nice flavor)
    • 8 unpeeled garlic cloves
    • 1 cup (packed) fresh cilantro
    • 1 small white onion, roughly chopped
    • Juice of 1 lime
    Verde Salsa
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    Falafel

    ... or you could just buy falafel mix and add water. We didn't actually follow this recipe, but it looks good.

    http://mideastfood.about.com/od/maindishes/r/falafelrecipe.htm

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    Mediterranean Style Hummus

    Adapted from a blog that apparently isn't public anymore.

    Hummus
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    Stuffed Mushrooms

    Audrey's family's stuffed mushrooms. A vegetarian (but not vegan) treat. Always a hit at parties and holiday meals.

    Stuffed Mushrooms
    3.5
    Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

    Potato Latkes

    Audrey's family's latke recipe with a few process tips taken from Cook's Illustrated and the Los Angeles Times.
    See also the kitchn for an actual recipe. Closer to hashbrowns than pancakes. Serve with applesauce and sour cream.

    Latkes
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    Fresh Tomato Tart with Chevre

    This is a recipe created by Jon's Mom based on the amazing brunch tart from A Priori Thé in Paris, hidden in the Galerie Vivienne nearish to the Bourse. It is absolutely worth the effort to squeeze into a booth here, if only for this tart. The original has a dry cheddar-like cheese (Cantal) melted on top, but we find that unnecessary, given the massive amount of cream cheese and chèvre already being used. This dish is amazing in its simplicity.

    For the tart's pastry
    10" tart pan:
    1½ cups flour
    ¾ tsp salt
    ½ cup butter (freeze)

    Tomato Tart
    5
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    Pupusas

    SALVADORAN PUPUSAS By Graciela Fortin-Magana

    Preparing the dough
    There are different brands of tortilla flour to make the dough. MASECA, which can be found in most large supermarkets in the international section, is one of them but there are others. Follow the instructions on the bag and make as much dough as needed. Once the dough has been prepared set it aside while you prepare the filling.

    Three Fillings
    CHEESE
    3 cups of shredded cheese (use hard and cream cheese mixed together; you can mix frying cheese, mozzarella and ricotta)
    3 or 4 tablespoons of heavy cream

    3
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    Drinker's Choice

    In Austin, there used to be a fantastic Turkish restaurant called Ararat - one of Austin's best kept restaurant secrets (that everyone knows). They had bellydancing all weekend and live bands during the week, and some of the best middle eastern food you'll find. It was a small place with rug-covered walls that was always jam-packed.

    Drinker's Choice
    4
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    Mini Zucchini and Goat Cheese Tarts

    Yummy goat cheese (or cream cheese) tarts, a microplane for the zucchini is important to get them thin enough to fold over. Sauteeing them shortly can also help.

    Pastry dough (pie crust or puff pastry, sliced bread could work)
    2 1/2 pounds 1-inch-diameter zucchini, cut into 1/16- to 1/8-inch-thick rounds
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling
    2 teaspoons chopped fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme
    3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, room temperature
    1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    (photo by: Coral von Zumwalt via Epicurious.com)
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